Doing nothing is an art form, something many of us are learning rather quickly at the moment.
The true joy of idleness is perhaps ideally enjoyed in a place where they even have a divine terminology for it — Dolce far niente. We speak, of course, of the Italian city of Milan. Where better to practice a little sheer indulgent relaxation? Travel with us, won’t you?
Our itinerary includes sampling the artistic eye candy at Fondazione Prada, lounging at wellness oasis Terme Milano, and dining at rustic Trattoria Torre di Pisa. After a day of the best kind of nothing, we aim to rest our weary well-coiffed heads at Casa Calicantus, a 19th-century villa with quiet rooms and a delightful garden.
Yet when we sit down to write a charming picture postcard to our loved ones, what stays most fondly in our minds is the effortless style of the men of Milan — never stuffy or studied, but instead carefully nonchalant.
While suitings and separates are the building blocks of the nation’s sartorial glory, victory is in the details, my dears. There’s a word for it, of course — Sprezzatura — considered effortlessness.
Think of beloved film icon Marcello Mastroianni in a dashing suit, his exquisite face framed with bold glasses, particularly playing the role of a frustrated director in the gorgeous 8½ from Federico Fellini.
Or, contemporary peacock and playboy Lapo Elkann, the Fiat scion with impeccable style, advanced color-coordination skills, and infallible pocket square abilities.
The birthplace of many such magnificent finishing touches? Italy’s many artisanal firms, many family-owned for decades, run in the old ways, with an eye to perfection.
Take for example the heritage firm Mazzucchelli, a short distance from Milan. An ancestral company for over six generations, it was first established in 1849 as a maker of combs, buttons, and umbrella handles made from animal horn, bone and tortoiseshell. These days, Mazzucchelli is a world leader for eyewear materials. Its factory lies not far from Lake Como, where one can sail past George Clooney’s Villa Oleandra. Don’t forget to pack your sunglasses for this debonair day trip.
High-quality Mazzucchelli acetate is used in the finest eyewear in the world, and also, as it happens, by your friendly neighborhood Lunettes Kollektion. And here is where our expertise comes into play, if we may. A weekend in Milan requires — nay, deserves — the perfect pair of stylish sunglasses, with a dash of Italian flair.
A stylish uomo or even a Herr might indeed choose to accessorize his well-planned look with the artisanal-produced Fare bella Figura, a variation of the iconic Panto shape, maybe in a classically inspired combination of miele with bottle green lenses.
Fare bella figura means to make a good impression. The art of projecting a good image includes civilized behavior to accompany that particularly attractive appearance – ideally, the bella figura is not merely a mask, but a reflection of the person within.
By the way, Panto glasses are one of the most-loved styles of eyewear. Round or oval in shape, and somewhat flattened on the top, they rose to acclaim in the 1940’s, adorning the faces of intellectuals, authors, and the elegant ever since. The frame’s high-placed hinge and full form provide an ideal area for broad vision, the pantoscopic view they are named for; in Greek, panto means ‘all.’
Those who favor a smaller shape with maximum impact may prefer small round glasses, a style that cycles back into fashion time and again, but truly is eternally elegant. At once classic and quirky, a round frame marks its wearer as intelligent and individual.
An ideal example of the style comes from Epos Milano, a timeless eyewear designer translating the élan of Milan into glasses and sunglasses.
The company features harmonious frames with mythical names and natural colors, like Palladio, a small round frame is named for famous Italian renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, and inspired by the wonderful harmony and elegance of his buildings. In a beautifully mixed Mazzucchelli acetate that evokes tortoiseshell, they evoke a touch of the wild, while remaining entirely civilized. LS